Tesla Cybertruck Is Much More Aerodynamic Than It Looks

Design / 5 Comments

It's not just a wedge on wheels, after all.

When the Tesla Cybertruck was introduced in November 2019, the first thing that we all noticed about it was its odd, wedgy shape. Unusual indeed, especially from a company that spent so much time honing the aerodynamics of the Model 3 to arrive at a drag coefficient of just 0.23. But less than a week after the Cybertruck was revealed, an aerospace engineer tested the pickup's aerodynamics and discovered that it was pretty efficient. Unfortunately, he didn't want to make any claims based on his own simulations, so we didn't know what the Cybertruck's drag coefficient would be. Thankfully, we now have a number of about 0.39 Cd, according to Numeric Systems, a company that develops simulation software.

2023 Tesla Cybertruck Driving Front Angle Tesla

The study was carried out by a CFD (computational fluid dynamics) engineer at the company named Aleix Lazaro Prat, who notes that this figure is almost double that of the Model S or the Lucid Air, the latter of which has a figure of 0.21. Most modern cars have an average drag coefficient of between 0.25 and 0.3, so does that mean the Cybertruck has a terribly inefficient shape? Well, no.

Various independent studies have found that the Ford F-150 has a figure of around 0.59 and the Ram 1500 has a figure of around 0.56. Official figures from Ram for the Quad Cab 4x2 model claim that this specific model is actually even more aerodynamic than the Cybertruck, with a figure as low as 0.36.

Basically, what we're saying here is that the Cybertruck may not be record-breaking yet, but it is far slipperier through the air than most trucks, despite its crazy shape. In fact, Elon Musk's design team may be onto something with this shape.

Musk previously noted that he thinks it's possible to get the figure to a record-breaking 0.30 with numerous small tweaks to the body but that the overall shape is good for low drag. Musk has also said that what matters a lot is "exactly how you trip airflow at edges and guide air around wheels, like an invisible sculpture."

Who knows? Perhaps the reasoning behind the delay of the Cybertruck's market launch is that these tiny tweaks are being implemented to make the pickup the slipperiest ever. The results of the Numeric Systems simulation confirm that it's relatively easy to achieve, and as we learn more and more about aerodynamics, it's quite possible that more zany shapes will become commonplace on our roads. Whatever, the case, we hope that Tesla will furnish us with some official dimensions and figures soon.

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2023 Tesla Cybertruck Driving Front Angle
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